The Associated Press reports that
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S. designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.
The time has come to ask ourselves here in Illinois do we really want a company with Blackwater’s reputation training our local law enforcement. Can we trust the “quality training” they say they are delivering anymore than we can trust the distortions coming from their public relations office?
On Tuesday Blackwater defended itself in relation to the shooting of Iraqi civilians over the weekend.
“Blackwater regrets any loss of life, but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life.” said Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell, reported in the September 19th edition of the Chicago Tribune.
This makes Blackwater seem very innocent. However the Friday edition of the NY Times reports that a copy of the Iraqi official investigation into the shootings reports that it was Blackwater who opened fire first. Firing on a car with a male driver and woman passenger holding a baby. This testimony came from an Iraq police officer at the scene. He reported that the car did not stop when an Iraqi police officer instructed him to stop. Blackwater then shot him. The woman began to scream and then they shot her. The car kept rolling so they then shot an explosive into the car so that it would burn.
In February, under oath, general counsel for Blackwater Andrew Howell during Congressional testimony, admitted that Blackwater flew one of their employees out of Iraq after he alledgedly shot and killed an off duty Iraqi Vice president security guard. They said the shooting was under investigation by the justice department. Also two other incidents involving Blackwater employees shooting Iraqi civilians in May are under investigation.
Blackwater is also fighting nine different wrongful death lawsuits in federal courts.
A Blackwater plane crash in Afghanistan over a year ago is also supposedly under investigation.
Now add that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with the help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told the Associated Press.
Now, let me see if I have this straight. Our government hires security firms like Blackwater because they can offer better protection for less money than our own soldiers. Yet we are paying Blackwater employees more in one month than our own soldiers make in a year. While at the same time thousands of taxpayer dollars are being used for all of these investigations into the very company that is suppose to be saving us money.
Needless to say it doesn’t add up.
It seems clear that it is time to do a full accounting and clear this Blackwater off our soil before its toxic ways seep deeper. Do we really want a company with such a dark history training our police officers at our expense. Training which isn’t even certified by the Illinois State Regulations office. Our tax dollars could be used better in so many ways.